NBC's The New Normal is a delightful show about a not very ordinary gay couple trying to have a surrogate daughter with a strange woman who has an oddball child and an unbelievably bigoted (and funny) grandmother. NeNe Leakes is also somehow involved. As much as it would like us to believe that this is the way the world works today, like most Ryan Murphy shows it is a celebration of the oddities within all of us. Therefore this weekly feature is both a celebration (and indictment) of all the abnormality contained within it.
Normal: Making a video of your children.
Abnormal: Making a video for your children before they're even born. Seriously, this only happens on TV.
Normal: Jews not having godparents.
Abnormal: Jews not knowing what godparents are.
Normal: Having godparents.
Abnormal: Actually talking to your godparents about god. Mine just send me a card on my birthday. Well, my godfather hasn't done that since I was 12.
Normal: NeNe Leakes.
Abnormal: NeNe Leakes acting! That bug-poop scene was fantastic. She is going to be rich, bitch.
Normal: Having a complex about inferior abs.
Abnormal: Having a complex about inferior abs and looking like this.
Normal: Poop jokes.
Abnormal: Two poop jokes in the first three minutes of a sitcom.
Normal: Talking to your baby brother or sister while it's in the womb.
Abnormal: Talking in Spanish to your baby brother or sister while it's in the womb (and, you know, it's not really your brother or sister, biologically or spiritually).
Normal: To cease going to church.
Abnormal: To cease going to church to spend more time at brunch.
Normal: Not liking Annie Leibovitz.
Abnormal: Not knowing who Annie Leibovitz is.
Normal: A puffy vest.
Abnormal: This puffy vest. (Look at how sad he is. It's because of the vest.)
Normal: Going to confession in a church.
Abnormal: Using one of the boxes with the little screen. Seriously, that only happens on TV.
Normal: Priests making jokes.
Abnormal: Priests making veiled jokes about other priests getting fired for being pedophiles.
Normal: A doctor giving CPR.
Abnormal: A doctor giving CPR to a guinea pig.
Normal: A TV show switching out a dead pet for a new pet that is living.
Abnormal: A TV show switching out a dead pet for a new pet that is living while acknowledging that it is a stupid plot and still doing it anyway.
Normal: Taking your pet out of the house.
Abnormal: Taking your pet on the LA Metro. Seriously, no one rides the LA Metro. Not even on TV.
Normal: Little kids liking old TV shows.
Abnormal: Quantum Leap? That shit isn't even in syndication.
Normal: Thinking things can change.
Abnormal: Thinking the Catholic Church can change.
Normal: Going to church to see the priest.
Abnormal: Going to church to see Mark Wahlberg's abs. That would get me in a church. (And isn't Wahlberg a pretty Jewish sounding name for a Catholic?)
Normal: Making jokes about Amanda Bynes.
Abnormal: Making two Amanda Bynes jokes in 30 minutes.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC]
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After surviving a devastating car accident following her first college party freshman Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) falls into a coma and steps into a nightmare of otherworldly visitations. Haunted by a grim reaper of a far different kind her only hope is to cling to chance encounters with her lost love Sean (Casey Affleck) and the aid of a mysterious young priest named Father Jude (Luke Wilson). Cassie's malicious friends Matt (Wes Bentley) Annabel (Eliza Dushku) and the morose Raven (Angela Featherstone) seem intent on drawing her to the dark side but the spirit of her soul mate Sean guides her back to the world of the living.
Sagemiller (Get Over It) may be a fine actress but this film--her second full-length feature--isn't the one to prove it. Not that Sagemiller does a poor job but like most dull and stale horror movies the female lead isn't asked to do much other than look frightened and scream--a lot. Affleck (Good Will Hunting) Bentley (American Beauty) and Dushku (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are among the more talented actors of their generation but are completely wasted especially Affleck in his one-dimensional role. Wilson as Father Jude is the only character with an interesting part but unfortunately the good Father's development is stunted and incomplete leaving Wilson little to work with.
Steve Carpenter's first turn as a director leaves much to be desired. Of course Carpenter wrote the formulaic script so why shouldn't he be the one to helm it? One major flaw (and there are plenty to choose from) is that nearly half the movie is shot tight on the characters giving the audience a very myopic view. Even if that was intentional it certainly did nothing to heighten the tension (what little of it there was) in the movie. The flick's tagline "The World of the Dead and the World of the Living... are About to Collide" conveys the message of an epic struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good--a struggle that never materializes. And the film's final message that love conquers all is the boring hackneyed truism that breaks the cliché camel's back.